In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver has been moving full steam ahead on several projects that will benefit groups, investing billions into infrastructure, hotel and venue enhancements. As 2021 cautiously ushered in a period of recovery for the events industry, VISIT DENVER launched a new marketing campaign targeting hundreds of thousands of meeting professionals highlighting these citywide improvements. The digital campaign featured seven movie-themed videos (including a teaser trailer) that ran between January 25-April 30 and garnered more than a half million views. The video series focused on upgrades to Denver International Airport, the Colorado Convention Center, the 16th Street Mall, event venues, hotels and arts and cultural facilities, all of which will ensure that The Mile High City continues to be one of the most sought-after U.S. meeting destinations for years to come.

“Meeting attendees will soon experience a greatly improved city from the moment they land at one of Denver International Airport’s 39 new gates and check in at one of our many exciting new or remodeled hotels, like The Rally at McGregor Square or the Sheraton Denver Downtown,” said Rachel Benedick, executive president of sales and services at VISIT DENVER. “Other highlights are the upcoming fall opening of the truly innovative Meow Wolf Denver, renovations and a new building at the world-renowned Denver Art Museum, and thoughtful updates to the iconic 16th Street Mall in the heart of downtown. Our ‘Coming Soon: Denver’ campaign provided a creative and informative vehicle to convey the importance and scope of these projects to prospective meeting professionals who have the potential to bring billions of dollars in future economic impact to our city.”

Denver International Airport (DEN) Gate Expansion

Movie Genre: Sci-Fi

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The best way to kick off a meeting is with a smooth arrival. Over the last 25 years, DEN has grown from 33.1 million to more than 69 million passengers annually and is currently the seventh busiest airport in the world. In response to this growth, DEN is undergoing a major expansion that will bring 39 new gates to increase the airport’s overall capacity by 30 percent, giving current and new airlines the opportunity to add routes from Denver. Travelers will also notice increased dining and shopping options, outdoor decks for fresh air, a variety of comfortable seating choices, and more charging stations.

National Western Center Renovation

Movie Genre: Western

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Only one train stop from downtown’s beautifully restored Denver Union Station is National Western Center, which is slated to play a much larger role in meetings and events upon completion of a $1 billion project that is currently underway and expected to be fully completed in 2024. Sustainability is at the forefront with the goal of creating a low-carbon resilient campus featuring energy-efficient buildings powered by renewable energy.

Major highlights include the construction of more than 2.2 million square feet of new indoor and outdoor space designed to host innovation and research labs, farmers’ markets, international conferences, outdoor festivals, and everything in between. The project also is activating six acres of riverfront that has been inaccessible and implementing more than 20 acres of public plazas and stockyards. National Western Center also will be home to “The Spur” housing Colorado State University research programs for animal health, water, sustainability and food.

Hotel News

Movie Genre: Rom-Com

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With 11,000 rooms across a compact, walkable downtown and chef-owned restaurants around every corner, Denver knows how to make everyone feel welcome. 

The Sheraton Denver Downtown recently wrapped an $80 million renovation of their 1,238 guest rooms (including 138 suites) and 133,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit spaces. The largest hotel in Denver, the Sheraton has transformed all guest rooms, public and meeting spaces and lobbies, and has introduced new, world-class culinary and beverage options. 

In the new McGregor Square development next to Coors Field, The Rally Hotel recently unveiled their 176 guest rooms and 15,000 square feet of indoor meeting space. Outside the front doors is a 17,000-square-foot public plaza that will be a pre- and post-game gathering place for baseball fans on game day, as well as a year-round events venue.

Across from the Colorado Convention Center, The Schoolhouse will open in a landmark former vocational school building with 250 guest rooms and 3,000 square feet of meeting space.

Thompson Denver is the first Colorado property for this boutique Hyatt brand and will feature 214 rooms and 8,000 square feet of meeting space. Luxury suites, a ground-floor signature restaurant, and an indoor/outdoor terrace with lounge and bar on the sixth floor are just a few of the highlights.

The chic Cherry Creek North neighborhood is home to the new Clayton Hotel, which boasts 63 guest rooms, 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a 2,400-square-foot ballroom and great food and beverage options.

Creative Venues

Movie Genre: Indie 

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Denver’s cultural treasures also are receiving plenty of love. 

Denver Art Museum, one of the top 20 most attended art museums in North America and a key attraction in downtown’s Golden Triangle District, plans to host a 2021 grand opening celebrating major renovations to what is now known as the Martin Building and the addition of the Sie Welcome Center. The $150 million Sie Welcome Center, a 50,000-square-foot, elliptical-shaped structure, adds to DAM’s already impressive selection of meeting and event spaces and features a visitor center, expanded public gallery spaces, and two new restaurants, Café Gio and The Ponti. Sturm Grand Pavilion, located on the second level, encompasses more than 10,000 square feet of event and programming space and is enclosed by 25-foot-tall, floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The seven-story Martin Building, designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates, was one of the first high-rise art museums in the world and is the only completed building in North America designed by the renowned Italian modernist. 

The much-lauded Meow Wolf artist collective opened its first permanent installation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2016. The highly anticipated fall 2021 opening of Meow Wolf’s Denver location will unleash the group’s largest installation yet, a 90,000-square-foot location filled with four floors of interactive art from more than 110 local artists. A café and a live performance venue for up to 450 attendees will round out the experience.

The $36 million renovation of the 185,000-square-foot Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is nearly complete. DCPA made the best of these quieter COVID times to put this project on the fast track so it will be ready when audiences and groups can return. Located downtown, DCPA is one of the largest nonprofit theatre organizations in the nation. 

A new 30,000-square-foot combination indoor/outdoor event space, Number Thirty Eight features four kitchens, an outdoor stage for live music and a large patio with a private deck, beach volleyball courts and more.

Located in the trendy River North (RiNo) neighborhood, Mission Ballroom hosts major musical acts and offers up to 12,000-square-feet for events up to 3,950 attendees. An adjustable stage allows for flexible floorplans and creative event planning.  

In Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo), the new McGregor Square has opened by Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies professional baseball team. A 35,000-square-foot Rockies Hall of Fame experience and public gathering spaces combine with unique retail and restaurants, a food hall, a multi-family residential development, The Rally Hotel and office spaces. A 17,000-square-foot public plaza can host neighborhood concerts, festivals and other public activities all year long.

The 16th Street Mall Upgrades

Movie Genre: Spy Thriller 

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Designed by the internationally renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners, the mile-long pedestrian 16th Street Mall is undergoing a $130 million refresh. Originally debuted in 1982, the poly-chromatic granite pavers are now being repaired, transit lanes for the free MallRide shuttle are being moved to the center of each block and the sidewalks are being expanded for walking, café seating and other activities. The renovation will also replace and expand the existing tree canopy, creating a refreshing green space in the center of the city. 

The Colorado Convention Center

Movie Genre: Super Hero

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A $233 million expansion is about to turn the Colorado Convention Center into a cutting-edge meetings destination. Expect an 80,000-square-foot flexible ballroom; the addition of 35,000-square-feet of pre-function space; a 20,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with panoramic views of both the city skyline and the Rocky Mountains; and technology improvements, such as increased capacity for Wi-Fi and streaming video. The updates will capture the spirit of Denver and Colorado, and the outdoor event space will be a perfect option for a unique meeting experience or reception.  

Benedick emphasized, “Denver is excited for the future and hasn’t let COVID-19 slow down progress. We are proud to support the recovery of the meetings industry and can’t wait to welcome your next event. We’ll be ready!”

For more information on the “Coming Soon: Denver” campaign and to view the videos, go to